Radiance by Grace Draven

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An arranged marriage is made to the most unconventional couple: Ildiko, a noblewoman, and Brishen, a creature of the night. With their marriage comes a stronger union between their nations. Although they come from different worlds, love has a way of bringing people together in the most unlikely of ways.

Radiance is the first of the Wraith Kings series and I looked forward to reading this for quite some time. When I finally got to it, I was not disappointed. Although slow at times, I enjoyed how unique this arranged marriage trope was. It was the first time that I had read a story where both parties found each other quite ugly and practically unbearable to look at. While she looks like a pale, gross shellfish to him, he looks like a thing of Ildiko’s nightmares. Glowing yellow eyes would be a little disconcerting at first, not gonna lie.

It was a refreshing take that I found myself eating up the whole way.

Despite their differences, I loved how their strengths and personalities were highlighted the most. Since both of them saw each other as physically unattractive, their focus was then honed in on their character. So, if you are looking for some insta-pining of looks, you will not find it here. Instead, you will find a slow-burn that gradually turns into love.

It is quite a sweet friends to lovers tale.

However, I did wish there was a little more tension between them. I prefer those “almost” moments but this was a more realistic take on two people coming together and learning to admire each other through their marriage. I respect it for that but still found some parts of the book to be a little lacking.

Regardless, I enjoyed reading this book immensely and gave it a 4.5. If you are looking for a unique arranged marriage between a human and a mysterious humanoid-like creature, then this is the book for you! I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Book Information

  • #1 in the Wraith Kings Series
  • Heat level: A little spicy (expect some sex scenes)
  • Content Warning: Mentions of child death/murder, torture
  • Audience: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance, Paranormal

Favorite Quote

“You make a very handsome dead eel, my husband,”

“For a boiled mollusk, you wear black quite well, my wife,”

Grace Draven, Radiance

Book Blurb

The Prince of no value
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

The noblewoman of no importance
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

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